Category Archives: FRA

The Magic Triangle: Infrastructure-Timetable-Rolling Stock

In the last month, Amtrak decided not to purchase additional Acela cars, but instead replace the Acela fleet ahead of time, and try to buy trains that aren’t compliant with FRA regulations. More recently, Amtrak and the California HSR Authority … Continue reading

Posted in Amtrak, FRA, High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, Transportation | 109 Comments

Quick Note: Good News Week

Via Systemic Failure, I learn that the FRA is finally reforming its train safety regulations on its own. This is an amazing development, partial as it is. This appears to derive from the FRA’s previous research into crash energy management, … Continue reading

Posted in FRA, Good Transit, Transportation | 113 Comments

Train Weights, Bilevel Version

My previous table of train weights covered single-level trains, with the exception of the ultralight (for a bilevel) TGV Duplex. By request, here is a similar version for bilevels. Note that very light trains such as the E231 or DB’s … Continue reading

Posted in FRA, Regional Rail, Transportation | 23 Comments

FRA Rules Are Not Just Buff Strength

The FRA waiver approach, adopted by Caltrain, appears to be a relatively simple way for agencies to get out of the buff strength rule. Caltrain applied for and got a waiver from a number of regulations that increase train weight, … Continue reading

Posted in FRA, Incompetence, Transportation | 41 Comments

FRA Stonewalling

Stephen Smith interviewed the FRA last month asking questions about its regulations and the waiver process. The initial round of responses is included below, unmodified except very minor formatting, followed by my own commentary; there was also followup, which I’ll … Continue reading

Posted in FRA, Incompetence, Transportation | 27 Comments

Amtrak’s Role in Regulatory Reform

In my previous post, I focused on the FRA’s self-justifying bureaucratic approach to regulation. However, the other main institute of intercity rail in America, Amtrak, too doesn’t come out of the comments looking very well. Unlike the FRA, Amtrak is … Continue reading

Posted in Amtrak, FRA, Incompetence, Transportation | 8 Comments

The FRA Doesn’t Need Reform – It Needs A Revolution

Via Systemic Failure, I’ve learned that the federal government is implementing regulatory reform, including some cosmetic changes to railroad regulations; for details, go to this file and see pages 30-41, 54-61, 105-106, 108-109, 112-113, and 115-127. Drunk Engineer already rightly … Continue reading

Posted in FRA, Incompetence, Transportation | 31 Comments

Followup on the FRA and Amtrak

My posts about the FRA and American railroad incompetence are getting a lot of traction nowadays, thanks to links from Aaron Renn and Stephen Smith, of which the latter has been relinked by Matt Yglesias. The comments to those posts … Continue reading

Posted in Amtrak, FRA, Incompetence, Transportation | 19 Comments

Bad FRA Regulations

Since many people are linking to my previous post identifying the FRA as the primary obstacle to an American railroad revival, I’m hoisting a comment I wrote on the Infrastructurist detailing some of the FRA regulations that are the most … Continue reading

Posted in FRA, Incompetence, Regional Rail, Transportation | 34 Comments

Mica Introduces NEC Privatization Bill

Yesterday, House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica and Railroads Subcommittee Chairman Bill Shuster proposed a bill to privatize Northeast Corridor operations. This will be done more like European rather than Japanese privatization: Amtrak will not be privatized directly, but instead … Continue reading

Posted in Amtrak, FRA, High-Speed Rail, Politics and Society, Transportation | 20 Comments